As summer turns to autumn on the smallholding we begin the change over from our summer crops to winter vegetables. This means the end of a very successful tomato season, and harvesting the last of the aubergines; although the peppers have continued fruiting well into November. Clearing these old plants out of the polytunnels has given us space to plant the winter salad crops like mizuna and soft-leaved spinach, as well as greens like pak choi and tatsoi, a delicious addition to winter stir-fried vegetables.
We have also been getting overwintering plants established, to provide fresh peas, mangetout, carrots and beetroot as early as possible next spring.
Outside, the harvest of winter root vegetables continues – we are still digging up carrots, jerusalem artichokes, red and golden beetroots, and parsnips; as well as late-season chard and spinach for the kitchen’s savoury pastries and warming curries.
The leeks have been a great success this year – they have grown enormous and we should still be harvesting them for some time. The brassicas are also growing well, producing plenty of curly kale and cavalo nero, and we have just started picking the first of the brussel sprouts!
In the greenhouse we are growing trays of micro-salad, to add colour and flavour to meals all year round.
As part of the smallholding year we also store much of the autumn’s produce – this way, squash, onions, dried borlotti beans and garlic can be used throughout the winter.
Finally, we have also had recent successes at Gransden Agricultural Show, winning several awards for South Farm’s vegetables, including first prize for salads.
A big thank you to Helen Warner Photography for the photographs!